The year 1499 is significant for Minsk with the receipt of the Magdeburg Law. The result of this event was the complete liberation of city residents from feudal duties, as well as from the power of government officials. They were replaced by a magistrate, its composition was formed through elections. Minsk simply needed to determine the venue for the meetings of the magistrate. Regardless of this, the mention of the Town Hall appeared after 83 years.
The town hall of the city of Minsk was erected on the territory of the Upper Market (today it is Freedom Square). It happened in 1660. The clock located on the tower speaks about the high cost and modernity of the project, because for that period of time it was of great value. In the tower itself, standards of volume and units of weight were stored. During the XVI-XVII centuries, the town hall constantly hosts magistrate meetings. During the wars, the town hall was destroyed more than once, but the people of Minsk did not spare their strength every time to restore it, unfortunately the original appearance changed.
The last time the appearance of the town hall was changed in 1744, while it was endowed with the features of classicism. In 1795, or rather May 14, the Russian authorities abolished the Magdeburg Law, as a result, state organizations, the police and the court were located in the town hall at different times. After a while, there was a music school, a theater, and performances of the city’s orchestra were organized. By order of Nicholas I in 1851, the town hall was demolished as an example of Western traditions and freethinking.
After a thorough study of preserved drawings, drawings, archival sources and excavations of archaeologists in 2002-2003. the town hall was rebuilt again. This happened with the help of the employees of JSC Stary Mensk on a restoration project owned by architect S. Baglasov. The tower of the town hall reaches 32 meters in height, the coat of arms of the city of Minsk is installed on it. Each side of the tower is decorated with a watch having a dial in diameter equal to 1.2 meters. At the beginning of each next hour, the clock on the tower performs the melody “Songs of Minsk”. It lasts for 19 seconds. It was written by the popular composer of Belarus Igor Luchenok.
Today, the town hall of Minsk is designed to hold meetings with honored guests of the capital of Belarus.
Photo and description
The current Minsk City Hall building was built in 1600 in the Upper Market, now it is Freedom Square. The building was decorated with watches - for those times it was an unheard of luxury. And in the town hall itself, standards of units of weight and volume were stored, and, of course, there were meetings of the city magistrate.
In 1744 the building was reconstructed, it acquired the features of the classicism style popular in those years. In 1795, Magdeburg Law was canceled. Since then, a city court has been sitting in this building and the police were stationed, and later a music school and even a theater.
In the mid-19th century, the Russian emperor Nicholas I ordered the destruction of the town hall building - a symbol of independence and liberty of the Poles. It would take a century and a half for the Belarusians to restore this symbol building already on the territory of their own state, independent of Russia. But first, architects and historians studied ancient drawings, archival materials, and only after these careful searches the building of the town hall was restored according to the project of architect S. Baglasov.
On the tower of the town hall you can see the coat of arms of the city of Minsk and a clock with a dial of 120 cm in diameter. Chimes hourly perform the song "Songs of Minsk", written by Igor Luchenok - a famous Belarusian composer.
The first Minsk city hall was built in 1600 and possessed the only watch in the city. At the end of the XVIII century. the building was rebuilt in the style of classicism (architect F. Kramer). The building, rectangular in plan, was covered with a gently sloping hip roof. On the main elongated facade, the central part significantly protruded with a three-march staircase, which ended with a four-tower, covered with a hemispherical dome with a spire. The central part and the ends of the building were decorated with 4-column ionic porticoes, which had two additional columns. The building's decorative solution was complemented by wrought-iron fencing of balconies in the porticoes and on the tower.
History edit |What to see
The restored Minsk city hall is very popular with both the townspeople themselves and the guests of the capital. It is quite high - 32 meters. At the very top is a weather vane. As befits all town halls, the clock and the coat of arms of Minsk are located on the tower.
Every hour, the chimes beat an excerpt from "Songs of Minsk" - the official anthem of the Belarusian capital, adopted in 2001.
In total, the town hall has 3 levels, visitors can visit the ground floor and the underground hall. The first floor contains exhibition halls. Under the glass dome is a layout of Minsk two centuries ago. Part of the exposition consists of documents showing the cultural and economic development of the city, books of famous Belarusian writers and souvenirs from the twin cities of Minsk. A significant part of the ground floor is reserved for the exposition of maps and globes.
On the second floor there is a hall intended for the reception of dignitaries and meetings. To plunge into the spirit of medieval Minsk will help a square stretching near the town hall with alleys, pedestrian paths between trees and fancy lights with benches.
Address: Minsk, pl. Liberty 2A.
How to get there: take the metro to the Nemiga station, then about 300 m on foot towards GUM.
Opening hours: Free admission only on Saturday from 12:00 to 15:00. From Wednesday to Friday, the town hall can be visited by appointment. Entrance: 4 BYN, for students - 1 BYN, for students - 0.50 BYN. Prices on the page are for September 2018.
Minsk City Hall is an architectural monument of the 16th-19th centuries. The city hall is one of the most striking sights of Minsk. It is located on Freedom Square, next to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary on one side and the Holy Spirit Cathedral on the other.
The original town hall was wooden; at the end of the 17th century it was rebuilt in stone. Travelers and scientists from different countries who visited Minsk in the 18th – 19th centuries noted the beauty and originality of its main square.
The town hall building rises in the center of the square. The Town Hall is a symbol of city government. Translated from German means "meeting house." In 1857, the building of the town hall was destroyed by order of the tsarist authorities.
In Minsk, the image of the town hall is associated with the fact of gaining independence. Previously, the magistrate met here, and now all the most important city administrative events are held.
On the second floor there are meeting rooms, on the first floor there are exhibition halls of museums in Minsk. In the main exhibition hall under a glass cover is a model of the historical center of Minsk at the beginning of the 19th century.
The town hall traditionally hosts the opening of the City Day and the performance of musical groups.
Minsk City Hall and Magdeburg Law
The history of the Town Hall is inextricably linked with Magdeburg Law, which was granted to Minsk on March 14, 1499 by the Grand Duke Alexander of Lithuania (1461-1506). Magdeburg law, which arose in the 13th century in the city of Magdeburg (hence the name), was aimed at regulating the situation and activities of citizens in a feudal society.
This right made it possible to create a magistrate - its own administrative, judicial and executive body of self-government, which was in charge of the whole life of Minsk. The Grand Duke appointed the chief magistrate from the number of large feudal lords. Voigt appointed or approved a college of Radts 15-20 people, who were elected by the townspeople.
Magdeburg law saved the inhabitants of the city from judges and the governor’s power, from feudal duties, from elders and other government officials. The city emblem and banner were affirmed in the city.
Thanks to this right, the Minsk magistrate defended the city from the feudal administration of the castle, the arbitrariness of the feudal lords, opposed the growth of private property lawyers, vojta. In the text of the letter on Magdeburg Law, it was proposed to build a town hall in Minsk for a magistrate's meeting with bread stalls, a shearing chamber and shops.
Magdeburg law was canceled in 1795, and in 1870 the magistrate itself abolished the situation in the city.
History of Minsk Town Hall
The very first building of the town hall was built of wood in the first half of the XYI century, but its exact location is unknown, because archaeologists have not found any of its remains. In 1582, a new, stone building of the Town Hall was built, which was erected in a park in the middle of Freedom Square. In 1640, during a fire, the town hall was badly damaged. It was rebuilt again, and it acquired an expressive architectural appearance.
At the end of the XYIII century, according to the project of the provincial architect Cramer, the building acquired the features of classicism. The author of the project completely preserved the constructive basis of the old building, adding porticoes with balconies, so the construction work was completed in 1797. On the city plan of 1793, the town hall is depicted as a 2-story building with a protruding tower of the main facade, which was crowned with a complex dome shape. On the facade of the town hall were a bell (“ringing") and a clock.
In the first half of the 19th century, a music school, court, theater, archive, police, and even guardhouse were located in the town hall building. In 1851, the Minsk City Council decided to demolish the town hall, because she constrained the main square of the city and closed the view of the cathedral church, but only in 1857 money was allocated for its demolition. All this time, the former residence of the city magistrate was empty.
Restoration of the town hall in Minsk
The project for the restoration of the Minsk City Hall was developed for many years by Sergey Baglasov bit by bit in order to accurately recreate the building. Historians and archaeologists have done a great job to get accurate information about the type of building. The archives of Minsk, Vilnius, Warsaw, St. Petersburg, as well as information from archaeological excavations of the 1970-1980s were studied.
According to archaeological excavations, it was found that the walls of the town hall building were erected from scratch using the technique of mixed masonry, the windows were glazed with green round glass, inserted into a metal cover, the roof was covered with a flat tile, which was later replaced with wavy. Also, the remains of a 17th century stove were found, which was decorated with tiles with floral ornaments.
In 2002, the restoration of the town hall began, and at the end of 2003 the building was commissioned. It was restored at a historically reliable place, which was determined by archaeological excavations.
The internal layout of the monument was not completely copied, but tried to preserve its most valuable elements. On the second floor there is a hall for meeting and receiving honored guests, once there was a magistrate.
At the first, exhibition halls and expositions of the Minsk Museum telling about the history and sights of the city. A model of the historical center of Minsk at the beginning of the 19th century is installed in a large exhibition hall under the glass dome.
The restored building was crowned by a 32-meter tower with a clock and a city emblem depicting the Ascension of the Virgin.
Minsk City Hall today
Today, the Minsk City Hall is the pearl of the center of Minsk, which daily creates its new history. Various ceremonial events of city and state significance are often held in this building, award ceremonies are held for the “Minsk citizen of the year”, athletes and figures of modern Belarusian culture. The annual Festival of the city of Minsk is held here, where the best artists from all over the country perform.
Today, anyone who cares about the history of the Belarusian capital can visit the city hall in Minsk on Freedom Square. On Saturday, from 12 to 15 hours, you can visit the excursion “Minsk City Hall - history and modernity”, which is held by the Museum of the History of Minsk. On the tour you can study the history of the city hall and the city of Minsk in more detail from the 11th century to today. If you are an active and inquisitive person, come, we are waiting for you every Saturday!
Square next to the town hall
The cozy green square, also reconstructed, adjoins the town hall, and now it looks like a hundred years ago. But in the general view of the territory there is one difference - there is no monument to Alexander II, which was demolished during the revolution.
Along the perimeter of the square there are retro-style benches, cast-iron lanterns, footpaths, two oval alleys with lined pyramidal poplars pass through the square. 2004 presented the city with a restored symbol of the city. The grand opening of the town hall took place on November 4 of that year.
This is a favorite place for meetings and romantic dates among Minskers. Nearby in the square in front of the town hall is a sculptural composition of a carriage drawn by a pair of horses, near which there are always many tourists and people who want to take pictures.